MSEJ September 2017 - Page 7

The most common scenario I encounter is the transitioning military member who says “I’ll start when I drop my paperwork,” which turns into, “I’ll start when I’m on terminal leave.” Once you have a tentative date in mind to leave the military, look at a calendar and backward plan from two years out.

P—Plan, and edit the plan often

It’s game day. The stands are full, you have a plan, the season is on the line... and your star player is out with the flu. Even when you have a plan, a good player and a good coach know that sometimes obstacles crop up, and you’ve got to adjust as they do—otherwise you might as well never leave the locker room.

When it comes to your job search, your basic plan should include an ideal location, an industry, and a job function. As you apply, interview, and evaluate your options; however, small adjustments will need to be made.

If, for example, your ideal location doesn’t have the industry presence you need, or won’t offer you any opportunities for advancement, you’ll need to go back to your plan and make some adjustments to factor in the variables on the field. However, if you make your plan factoring in this time for adjustment, you’ll be better prepared to decide what your most pressing wants and needs are at the time.

O—Orient yourself

When you’re out on the field in the middle of a game, you’re constantly monitoring and assessing your situation. You know where you are in the game, whether you’re ahead or behind, how much time you have left on the clock, and the plays that you still have up your sleeve.

In the job market, you need to be similarly aware. When you’re applying for jobs or going in for an interview, it’s important to orient yourself within the market or at that company. Know the industry expectations you’re meant to work within, have a sense of the kind of five-year-plan that might appeal to the company, and research anticipated salaries for the position you’re applying for.

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